Paris is known as one of the most romantic cities in Europe – and for good reason. Who can fail to be enamored by the architecture and heady atmosphere of the city’s most stylish neighborhoods? For many generations of loved-up couples have chosen Paris as the ideal destination to propose or go on a honeymoon. But even if you are not in love, there is still plenty to see and do in the historic city which also has the deserved reputation as a center of art and culture and has served as a source of inspiration for many artists, filmmakers and writers down the years. The following list of expert suggestions of sights and activities will help you decide on what to add to your Paris itinerary.
1. Musée d’Orsay
If you only have a few hours to kill as you pass through Paris, the Musée d’Orsay is the one thing that you really should not miss out on. Housed in a building that used to serve as a railway station, the museum now contains a simply breathtaking array of impressionist art. Among the many masterpieces on show are world-famous works from the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Gauguin.
2. Cathedrale Notre-Dame
Incredibly, the iconic Cathedrale Notre-Dame has stood in its current location since its construction in the twelfth century. In a catastrophic fire in 2019, the cathedral almost burned to the ground, very nearly depriving the world of one of its best examples of Gothic architecture. Fortunately, firefighters were able to save the symbolic heart of Paris before the damage became such that the ancient structure collapsed.
The Saint-Chapelle is perhaps the finest relic of France’s now long-gone monarchy. Built in the thirteenth century by Louis IX, the chapel features some of the most incredible examples of Gothic stained glass windows anywhere in the world. Its fifteen glass panels make it a place fit to play host to the ancient artifacts of the Passion of Christ, which visitors to the chapel can peruse.
4. Palais Garnier
Built at the behest of Emperor Napoleon, the magnificent Palais Garnier is the site of city’s official opera. It is probably the most famous opera house in the whole world, and its fantastically opulent décor makes it a must-see for any visitor to Paris who would like a glimpse of the Paris of another epoch.
5. Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the best-known symbol of French civic pride. Its silhouette adorns postcards and souvenirs in gift shops all across the country. Amazingly, the tower was initially thought of as unsightly by residents of France’s capital city on its completion in 1889. Any trip to Paris today would not be complete without ascending it to take in the views of the city. It is often the first thing that a visitor will do on touching down and leaving the airport. Avoid any complications on your arrival in France with the new ETIAS visa waiver scheme, which is set to make it much easier for Americans to enjoy Europe’s most famous tourist sites.
6. Seine River
The lifeblood of the city, the famous Seine River bisects the heart of the City of Lights, flowing from east to west. Take a trip with one of the many riverboat tours available along the banks to take in the essence of Parisian life and enjoy the stunning sights of the cityscape against the backdrop of a spectacular sunset.
7. Louvre Museum
Widely considered to be the best art museum on the planet, the Louvre Museum is where you can see some of humanity’s most famous works of art. The museum takes you through an interactive journey through the different stylistic periods and is home to works which are fundamental to the history of art, such as the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and the Glass Pyramid.
8. Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by the infamous military dictator, Napoleon I, to commemorate the French army’s many military victories. Today, the famous arch embodies the French national commitment to republicanism. Inspired by the classical arches of antiquity, the magnificent structure is the site of a nightly lighting of a flame of remembrance at the grave of the Unknown Soldier to honor the memory of those soldiers who fell in the Great War.
The many wonders of the city of Paris make it one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Do not miss out on your own slice of the action – check out a handy ETIAS guide for the relevant information on whether you meet the requirements for the new European visa waiver scheme.